Showing posts with label Sports Tourism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports Tourism. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Sports Fans Love Social Media

Sports fans love Social Media!  Before and after...and especially during!  Once their favourite event is underway, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are close at hand.  Sports event promoters have taken note and provide loads of content to comment on and share!  That insight plus these four others highlight why it is important to have a tight Social Media strategy for your next event:

Until next time...
Chris Morales

Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing

Thursday, December 26, 2019

2019 Reggae Marathon Experience

Chris Morales, Reggae Marathon
I've been a part of Reggae Marathon since 2009 when I ran my first full Marathon.  2019 made it 11 consecutive years of making the trip to Negril, Jamaica for the annual weekend vacation and running event.  Back in 2009, that never crossed my mind.  I had a special reason for Reggae Marathon that was a one-off!  But then something special happened...

That day in 2009 it had rained the night before.  The morning dawned with bright sunny skies and above average humidity.  Truth:  It was brutally hot!  I had a 4 1/2 hour target time to finish but by the time I hit the half way point, I knew that wouldn't happen.  And out on the course there was no way to communicate that back to Sally who was waiting for me at the Finish at Long Bay Beach Park.  Or so I thought...

That morning Sally connected with Diane Ellis, Sponsorship Director of Reggae Marathon.  Diane found a chair and umbrella for Sally so that she would have some respite from the blazing sun.  I didn't know that of course and on top of the challenge of finishing, worried about how Sally was fairing as the minutes ticked off past my target time.

Diane came to the rescue again when she shared my progress via the timing mats that I crossed way out on the course.  That gave her an approximate time, and a bit of relief that I was actually still making progress.

As I came to the finish chute, another surprise:  Bob Moore, a runner from Washington, DC who we had met at our hotel only days before was there holding a Canadian Flag for me to carry across the finish!  He had waited after he finished his 10K race for over 4 hours to catch my finish!  

Reggae Marathon Finisher Medal, 2019I was on the course 5hours and 26 minutes that day.  I finished well after the majority of finishers had left and were already relaxing at their resorts.  The coconuts and beer were long gone.  

There was no music.  Only Reggae Marathon volunteers handing my my finisher medal and bottled water.  Diane standing beside Sally giving her encouragement and support.  Our recent American friends sticking around to hand me a Canadian flag.

Chris Morales, Reggae Marathon

Today we talk about the excitement of the music, the fresh cut coconut and the cold beer as being the Reggae Marathon Experience.  Truth:  It's the people.  The friends we met that day are still friends 11 years on.  My Reggae Marathon Experience has kept me coming back year after year to meet up with friends I only see in person once a year.  

Over the years there have been 3 people who have become special:  Navin, Larry and Dan.  We called ourselves the 4 Musketeers.  Every year we waited for the last finisher in order to have a group picture celebrating another successful finish.  

Chris Morales, Reggae MarathonSadly Dan passed away in Negril in 2018 while in Jamaica for his 7th Reggae Marathon.  And in 2019 Navin was not able to make it.  Larry and I still got together for our photo...dedicated to both Navin and Dan.  This is the photo from 2018 when Dan's passing was fresh and very raw for all of us.  It still is a year later!  But what keeps us going is a love of running...and Reggae Marathon!

The Experience is about people.  Old friends reunited, new friends made;  friendships celebrated!  That Experience will live with me forever!

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Sports Marketing Tourism Still Growing

Sports Marketing tourism is still growing globally.  Reggae Marathon, the experience I am most closely related to, runners from over 40 countries made their way to Jamaica to participate in the 2019 event.  That is an increase in over 10% in one year.  The three things that stand out:
  1. Runners come for the experience.  For most it's a warm weather destination where they can escape winter at home, have a great vacation and run in a well executed event.
  2. Local culture is important.  At Reggae Marathon we take a bus tour to visit a number of off-the-beaten path bars and restaurants.  Some are in people's homes!  Definitely get to experience a bit more of the local culture on these excursions.
  3. Digital Media, particularly the 3 biggest Social Media channels, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter extend and expand the experience.  Participating runners share their photos and stories using specific hashtags and that in turn exposes the event to more people.  And so on...
For more, here are ten future trends in sport tourism:

Until next time...

Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Reggae Marathon Experienced

16 years in the making;  35 countries and counting.  Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica.  What began as a dream hatched by the Jamdammers Running Club in Kingston, Jamaica has now grown into an annual event that draws runners from all over the world to enjoy a running vacation in the beach resort area of Western Jamaica, Negril.

'What is the Reggae Marathon Experience?" was the  question asked over cold Red Stripes by a non-runner who was experiencing Reggae Marathon for the first time.  A simple question loaded with nuance and depth probing to the heart of business and branding.  As a lifetime runner working in the marketing business, I was hooked.

First of all, Reggae Marathon is a running event.  Three running events are included:  Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K.  That by itself is not absolutely unique...many races include multiple distance events to appeal to a broader group of runners.  It's extremely well organized.  Runner care is top notch from start to finish.  This is a big deal!

Reggae Marathon is a 'Destination Running Event'.  There is a large and growing group of runners who choose and plan for races in 'Exotic Destinations'.  The Mauritus Marathon is probably one of the most remote and exotic destination running events on the planet!  Jamaica with it's oversized ego and national braggadocio around running is exotic...and a relatively short plane trip to get to for Europeans and Americans from North and South. The miles long beach of white sand and warm sea water is well known as a fun and relaxing destination for beach loving vacationers.

Mashing up running and vacation is at the heart of the Reggae Marathon Experience and the key to the success of the Brand.  The last few years has seen an explosion of groups of runners self-organizing around the trip to Reggae Marathon to connect and re-connect with their running friends. Social Media has helped:  Runners connect online all year anticipating meeting up 'for reals' on the road and on the beach in Negril.

The Reggae Marathon Experienced!

Chris M Morales
647 393 3855

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not associated with any other group or organization

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reaching the $6,000 Runner through Social Media

$6,000+.  That's the approximate amount of money that each runner who travels to a destination marathon event contributes to the local economy (New York Marathon, $340 Million;   Boston Marathon, $176 Million;  London Marathon, $163 Million).  And this trend will continue to grow driven by two things:

  1. Growing interest and participation from Female runners who now make up nearly 50% participants at most Marathon Events.  In the USA, Black Girls Run (BGR) is a prominent group of female runners who train and travel to races. 
  2. Increased interest in and growth of the Half Marathon event.  (The Half Marathon's Amazing Growth)
Running and Marathon Events that combine full Marathons, Half Marathons and 10K/5K events are driving Sports Tourism globally and are applying Social Media Marketing to increase effectiveness and increase participation.  Runners participating in these destination Running Events love sharing their experiences On Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (the main Social Media platforms).  And it's their 'total experience' that they share:  A great vacation in an appealing destination combined with their race event experience.

How do you get Social Media Marketing working for a Sports Tourism event?  Here are three key things from my experience at Reggae Marathon:

  1. Runner experience at the event.  While the location may be a vacation destination, runners are there to run.  Their race experience must be top-notch.  They will be comparing it to other events;  they will talk about it on Social Media.  A positive experience is a key plank of a Social Media Marketing Plan.  For example, at Reggae Marathon a running event I've been going to for a number of years now, the race runs flawlessly:  registration, kit pick up, starts on time, frequent aid stations, chip timing, post race re-hydration and recovery area...these matter.
  2. Destination Attractions.  It is a vacation as well so the hotel properties should provide a great vacation experience.  Local attractions that will enhance the overall vacation experience. Again, at Reggae Marathon the 7 miles of white sand beach set the stage for a great beach vacation.  Tours to watch the sunset, local waterfall attraction and Rum producer top off the experience.
  3. Sharing the Experience.  Like other tourists and event participants, Runners love Selfies! And they love to share.  Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are currently the Big Three in Social Media marketing.  At Reggae Marathon, the specific hashtag (#reggaemarathon) identifies and tracks all user generated photos, updates, videos across all three simultaneously.  
Mobility is baked into this Social Media Marketing ecosystem wit Smartphones being used to search and research Destinations at the decision making stage.  At the event, Runners use their Smartphones tocapture, record, share and comment on their experience.  While this isn't unique for Runners at Marathon Events, Mobile will play an even more important part in Marketing these events in Social Media for one significant reason:  Runners like to talk about their performance and results and Apps like MapMyRun showing real-time results will become even more important in the social media mix. One prediction for 2015 and beyond that's a reasonably sure bet:  Mobile will become increasingly important to Sports Tourism Social Media Marketing as Cities, Destinations and Race Organizers continue to chase the $6,000 Runner.

Chris M Morales
647 393 3855
Linkedin:  Chris M Morales